RC really thought tonight was the night. After seeing a phenomenal play by Angel Berroa in the hole, a sweet running catch by David DeJesus, and a gutsy effort by D.J. Carrasco, we were pretty certain that the Royals would return to their occasionally-winning ways tonight. But alas, fate again intervened, and the Royals served up their second grand slam in as many nights. The Royals have now set a new club record for futility, dropping their 13th game in a row.
We should have seen it coming. With a 2-0 lead, the Royals failed to score a runner on third with less than one out in consecutive innings. The first goat was Mike Sweeney, who popped up to the second baseman on the first pitch he saw after Chip Ambres successfully sacrificed DeJesus (who hit a leadoff double) over to third base in the fifth inning. The next inning, Emil Brown led off with a triple, but the Royals failed to score him as well, thanks to a strikeout by Mark Teahen and a weak grounder back to the pitcher by Berroa.
At that point, we should have just turned the television off and gone about our business. As it turned out, those two scoring opportunities the Royals squandered were the difference in the game, which was merely a continuation of the misery that we have all endured for two full weeks.
Oh well. We could point out that the Royals' run differential was all the way down to -2 tonight, but that joke is already played out. Moving on to better things:
17.2 IP, 15 H, 2 ER, 9 BB, 16 K, 0 HR, 1.01 ERA
The nine free passes are the only thing to be concerned about, but Howell has countered that with a stellar 3.6 GB/FB ratio. A lot of people have pissed and moaned about the effect of Howell's quick promotion to KC, but it's pretty clear to us that Howell is right back on track. And there appear to be no apparent side-effects of his close proximity to Chris George, so that's yet another thing to be encouraged about.
Howell pitched his way back onto RC's top five list
Offensively, Justin Huber stole the show, going 3-for-4 with his first homerun, a walk-off job that won the game for the O-Royals. After a slow start in Omaha, Huber now has his batting average up to .271, and he's knocked in 11 runs in 11 games.
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